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Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014

Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994 2014

Staff Review

Staff Pick

Original
Paul
HPB Staff

Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994 2014

by WILCO
Highly recommended rarities

Released in late 2014, Alpha Mike Foxtrot is truly a great collection for any Wilco fan. With a diverse selection of rare studio and live tracks, the box set is a pleasure from start to finish. There are some interesting covers ranging from artists like Big Star, Steely Dan and Neil Young - as well as totally different recordings of songs from Wilco's album releases.

 
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In the book that accompanies Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014, a four-disc collection of rare and non-LP recordings by Wilco, former Reprise Records publicist Bill Bentley admits that no less a legend than Doug Sahm thought he was making a mistake when, after Uncle Tupelo abruptly and acrimoniously broke up, Bentley opted to work with Jeff Tweedy's new band rather than Son Volt, Jar Farrar's post-UT project. "Come on, Bentley, you gotta go with the other guy," Sahm said, "he's gonna happen." Which was certainly the conventional wisdom when Wilco and Son Volt launched in 1994 -- most fans seemed certain that Farrar was going to go on to a brilliant career on his own, and Tweedy's band would be a fine but lesser commodity. But those bets were off after Wilco released their ambitious, game-changing second album, Being There, in 1996, and in the years that followed, it became clear that Tweedy was a stronger songwriter, a more imaginative sonic visionary, and a keener judge of collaborators than he'd had the chance to show in Uncle Tupelo. Two decades on from their debut, Wilco have created a large and impressively diverse body of work, and Alpha Mike Foxtrot is a massive odds-and-sods collection, bringing together 77 tracks from singles, promo releases, movie soundtracks, bonus discs, and downloads from Wilco's website. Alpha Mike Foxtrot plays like an alternate history of Wilco, and most of what's here is every bit as satisfying as what the band delivered on its first eight studio albums, if more idiosyncratic; it traces the evolution of the band from early solo cassette demos Tweedy cut in his living room to extended workouts from the lineup that solidified after the release of A Ghost Is Born, as Wilco grew from a spirited alt-country combo to a rock band as adventurous and eager to innovate as it was engaging and tuneful (Tweedy's simple but powerful way with a melody is the surest unifying factor that holds these songs together). And the plentiful live tracks here demonstrate how willing Tweedy and his bandmates have been to give their songs new shapes on-stage (a ten-minute live recording of "Spiders [Kidsmoke]" is a tremendous showcase for Nels Cline's stellar guitar work), and there's a fistful of studio tracks that didn't fit on an album but sound splendid in this context, especially the Replacements-styled "Student Loan Stereo," the soulful "The Thanks I Get," and the faux-live pop/rocker "The Good Part." In the strictest sense, nothing on Alpha Mike Foxtrot is unreleased, but there's a lot here that's never been available for general public consumption, and while the sheer bulk of this set means it's most likely to be heard by hardcore fans, anyone with a genuine interest in Wilco will find a lot of great music that fell between the cracks on this set, as well as a fascinating map of the many roads Wilco did and didn't take. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Compact Disc
  • Sold by: --
  • Label: Nonesuch (USA)
  • UPC: 075597954395
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Track listings

  • Disc 1:
  • 1. Childlike And Evergreen
  • 2. Someone Else's Song
  • 3. Passenger Side
  • 4. Promising
  • 5. T.B. Is Whipping Me, The
  • 6. I Must Be High
  • 7. Casino Queen
  • 8. Who Were You Thinking Of
  • 9. I Am Not Willing
  • 10. Burned
  • 11. Blasting Fonda
  • 12. Thirteen
  • 13. Don't You Honey Me
  • 14. Lonely 1 [White Hen Version], The
  • 15. No More Poetry
  • 16. Box Full Of Letters
  • 17. Red Eyed And Blue
  • 18. Forget The Flowers
  • 19. Sunken Treasure
  • 20. Monday
  • Disc 2:
  • 1. Passenger Side
  • 2. Outtasite (Outta Mind)
  • 3. I Got You (At The End Of The Century)
  • 4. Outta Mind (Outta Site)
  • 5. James Alley Blues
  • 6. At My Window Sad And Lonely
  • 7. California Stars
  • 8. One Hundred Years From Now
  • 9. Shot In The Arm [Remix], A (Remix)
  • 10. Elt [King Size Demo]
  • 11. Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (Again) [David Kahne Remix] (Remix)
  • 12. She's A Jar [Austin Demo]
  • 13. Tried And True
  • 14. Studen Loan Stereo
  • 15. True Love Will Find You In The End
  • 16. I'm Always In Love [Solo Acoustic Live]
  • 17. Via Chicago [Austin Demo]
  • 18. Can't Stand It
  • 19. Airline To Heaven [Alternate]
  • 20. Any Major Dude Will Tell You
  • Disc 3:
  • 1. I'm The Man Who Loves You
  • 2. Good Part, The
  • 3. Cars Can't Escape
  • 4. Camera
  • 5. Handshake Drugs [First Version]
  • 6. Magazine Called Sunset, A
  • 7. Bob Dylan's 49th Beard
  • 8. Woodgrain
  • 9. More Like The Moon
  • 10. Let Me Come Home
  • 11. Old Maid
  • 12. Hummingbird [Alternate]
  • 13. Spiders (Kidsmoke)
  • 14. Hell Is Chrome
  • 15. At Least That's What You Said
  • 16. Late Greats, The
  • 17. Just A Kid (Featuring The Blisters)
  • 18. Kicking Television
  • Disc 4:
  • 1. Panthers
  • 2. Theologians
  • 3. Another Man's Done Gone
  • 4. I'm A Wheel
  • 5. How To Fight Loneliness
  • 6. One True Vine
  • 7. Thanks I Get, The
  • 8. Let's Not Get Carried Away
  • 9. Hate It Here
  • 10. Impossible Germany
  • 11. I Shall Be Released (Featuring Fleet Foxes)
  • 12. What Light
  • 13. Jesus, Etc. (Featuring Andrew Bird)
  • 14. Glad It's Over
  • 15. Dark Neon
  • 16. Jolly Banker, The
  • 17. Unlikely Japan
  • 18. You And I (Featuring Feist)
  • 19. I Love My Label
 
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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